BELGIUM/NETHERLANDS - Plans to implement an interim step towards a single European transaction processing platform, known as Euroclear Settlement of Euronext-zone securities (ESES) on the Dutch and Belgian market, has been postponed until the end of June 2008.

Euroclear Group, the company behind the settlement system for domestic and international securities transactions, confirmed today the live date, scheduled for May 5 next year, has been delayed.

The company said it expects to announce a new implementation date at the end of this year, though confirmed ESES on the French market will be launched, as scheduled, on November 26.

ESES is an integrated settlement platform for the French, Belgian and Dutch market, which enables straight-through processing of trades from Euronext's single order book foor both local and remote Euronext members, as the settlement of over-the-counter transactions.

The initiative is set to provide a single access point to settle trades conducted on any of the Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris exchanges, eliminating the need for cross-border intervention and reducing trade costs.

Sources close to the matter say Euroclear is concerned about the amount of client testing which may be required between the launch of Target2, the eurozone communications system between banks -  to be launched in February - and its own original launch date for ESES.